Beef lags behind as dairy births jump by 5.2%

The number of beef births occurring on Irish farms this year has lagged considerably on 2015, figures from the ICBF show.

To the week ending December 16, some 927,649 beef calves were born on Irish farms – a drop of 2.5% or 23,669 head on the corresponding period in 2015.

This drop in beef births has occurred despite growth in Irish suckler cow numbers in 2015, with figures from the CSO showing that suckler cow numbers increased by 1.1% on the year before.

Meanwhile, figures from the ICBF also show that dairy calf births have increased considerably in 2016, with numbers up by 5.2% or 66,210 head on year earlier levels.

The increase in dairy births coincides with the much-heralded expansion on Irish dairy farms after the abolition of milk quotas last year.

Further growth in Irish national milk production was forecast for 2016. Teagasc said that following the estimated 10% increase in production in 2015, further growth of 7% was forecast for 2016.

The increase in dairy calf births also follows a 10% increase in dairy cow numbers last year.

According to official figures, the Irish dairy herd stood at almost 1.23m head in December 2015, which is more than 100,000 head higher than the year before.

All-in-all, when the fall in beef births and increase in dairy calf births are considered, the total number of calves born on Irish farms was up on 2015 levels.

Figures from the ICBF show that nearly 2.27m calves were born on Irish farms this year, a jump of 1.9% or 42,541 head on the corresponding time in 2015.

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